BY JENNIFER BAILEY
One of the first alderwomen to serve on the city council, starting in 1987 with the change to a mayor-aldermanic form of city government, won’t be serving Ward 2 residents anymore.
Lois Cooper, who will turn 80 next month, was honored Tuesday night with a plaque for her service.
The other outgoing alderman in Ward 3, Bill Gilbert, also was honored for his eight years of service. R.J. Davis defeated Gilbert in the April city election.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he’s grown to respect Gilbert, and he described Gilbert as “a very energetic alderman” and passionate individual.
Gilbert thanked his supporters, and he doesn’t rule out running for alderman again. His wife, April, has said she doesn’t plan on running again in two years.
Cooper didn’t seek re-election. She welcomed new alderman Frank Hoskins who is taking over her seat.
Cooper served as alderwoman from 1987 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2013.
She sought re-election in 2009 after her late husband, Bill, who passed away in 2008, asked her to run again to have something to do and keep her mind busy.
Some city department heads and Eisenhauer also had asked her to run again, she said.
Tuesday night, Eisenhauer said Cooper has been like a second mother to him and is “an amazing friend.”
He said Cooper’s unselfish service and difference she made in the city won’t be forgotten.
In her farewell speech at her final city council meeting Tuesday night, she emotionally said, “my desire and dedication to work for the citizens and the city of Danville began some 40 years ago, when I was secretary to James Cahall, my precinct committeeman. I learned much from him.”
“In 1987, when the city of Danville changed forms of government to aldermanic representation of the citizens and businesses, I decided to compete. It has been a challenge for 24 years, keeping in contact with the citizens and businesses in Ward 2 … Listening to their comments and complaints, I immediately passed the information on to the proper department head and sometimes the mayor and they all worked toward resolutions of the problems.
“The most important personal issue was reading all information given to me as a council member. There were times when I questioned the validity of issues and spending. But folks, I was never afraid or ashamed to vote ‘no,’” she said.
Cooper said her family supported her in her political venture: her late husband, Bill, would discuss issues with her and bring her complaints and ideas of resolution. Their sons, Eric and Aron, became opinion-givers, also.
“I will miss working with the citizens and the staff of the city of Danville and especially the other aldermen. My tenure as alderman for Ward 2 will never ever be forgotten,” Cooper said.